‘Superyacht’ arrives in Malaysia amid media fanfare

A patrol boat on standby as the Equanimity makes its way to dock at a cruise terminal in Pulau Indah today.

PORT KLANG: The 91-metre luxury yacht Equanimity has arrived at Port Klang today, escorted by marine police patrol boats and greeted by dozens of journalists who had been waiting since early morning.

The first sight of the yacht, said to be worth US$250 million (RM1 billion) was visible at about 12.15pm today, as it made its way to dock at the Boustead Cruise Centre terminal in Pulau Indah.

The yacht, which is at the centre of a US investigation into 1MDB, earlier travelled from Tanjung Benoa port in Bali to the Batam island, before leaving for Malaysian waters yesterday.

It is believed that the Indonesian government, which seized the yacht at the request of US authorities early this year, decided to hand it over to Malaysia following a visit by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Jakarta last June.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Putrajaya might sell the Equanimity to get back the money allegedly stolen from 1MDB, which would be returned to the people.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad also challenged those who said the luxury yacht belonged to them to furnish documents proving that it was not bought with money stolen from 1MDB.

“Please show proof. We want to know where they got so much money to buy such an expensive yacht. If they can prove that it was not purchased with stolen money, they deserve to get it back,” he said in a short video.

Mahathir also said investigations by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) had shown that the yacht was purchased with money stolen from 1MBD.

On Saturday, it was reported that Indonesia had agreed to hand over to Malaysia the luxury yacht linked to the 1MDB corruption scandal. Indonesian authorities impounded the yacht in Bali earlier this year.

The Cayman Islands-flagged Equanimity was seized in February at the request of US authorities as part of a multi-billion dollar corruption investigation related to 1MDB launched by the DoJ.

An Indonesian court ruling in April declared that the yacht was wrongfully impounded and should be released to its owners.

Indonesian police seized the yacht again in July following a formal request for legal assistance from the US.

Controversial Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, is seen as a central figure in the scandal. According to the lawsuits, Low used proceeds diverted from 1MDB to procure the Equanimity, a 91m-long yacht with an interior clad in marble and gold leaf, a spa and sauna, a 20m swimming pool on deck, a movie theatre, a lift and a helipad.